I swear this dress was trying to elude me. I went to London Edge at the beginning of the year and spent a big chunk of my time there at the Collectif booth, pawing through their vast and beautiful line of SS16 releases, as well as a lot of their AW16 pieces (it’s going to be so amazing you guys, omg, just wait.) Aida Zak is one of Collectif’s house brands, like their 60s inspired line Bright & Beautiful, and I can only think I didn’t check that rack as thoroughly because I did not spot this Erina dress while I was there. It was only once I came home and watched some of the London Edge catwalk videos on Retro Daisy’s Instagram (a pinup shop located in Worthing, England) that I saw this dress. It was instant love-lust-gimme.
I wanted it for my birthday celebrations and there was some mild worrying on my part as to whether it would be released in time. I wanted to purchase it from Retro Daisy, since they had been so lovely to me about helping me track down which brand it was, but due to Collectif getting their new releases online before everyone else, including their own stores, let alone stockists, I had to guiltily order it from Collectif directly to get it in time. You’ll see why any second now, because my birthday celebration was a giant picnic fun day, and tell me, isn’t this a perfect picnic dress?
If you read the blog on Monday then you will have seen me reviewing the Heart of Haute gingham Sarah dress. The first time I saw a picture of that dress I fell in love, wanting it in both the coral and teal green colourways, but since I’m (supposed to be??) a responsible, restrained adult I thought I ought to be a sensible and limited myself to buying only one dress.
…And then I ended up with the teal gingham print Picnic Circle Skirt as well anyway, so life is good and adulthood really isn’t as bad as everyone says it is so what’s the big deal??! (Remind me of this joke in a couple weeks when I have to pay all my bills. I won’t be laughing then.)
Spring and summer, to me, is all about gingham. I do love florals, the occasional polka dot, and other fun, bold prints, but gingham is not only summery and fresh, but it’s a timeless and less innocuous way of rocking a print for those who fear or dislike novelty. It’s cliché to wear gingham on a picnic because red and white picnic blankets are over presented in picnic pictures and scenes, but damnit, some clichés are just worth fulfilling–because they’re just so good. It’s a classic. And who am I to knock a classic? So, yes, we’re picnicking again, darlings, crack open your pop bottle and pass the cake.
If you’re on social media and you follow your favourite clothing brands then I’m willing to bet this has happened to you: you’re checking your feed, scroll scroll scroll, when you see a picture posted by a brand of their newest release, with which you immediately fall so in love that you rush to their website to place an order, blood pumping, because you’re half terrified it’s going to sell out in those few seconds it takes to load up their page–who even KNOWS how many other ladies just saw that exact same Instagram picture and are scrambling to buy too?! You know, at midnight–and half pumped because you are about to buy yourself a new love of your life.
This happened to me with the Sarah dress by Heart of Haute, only I was slightly delayed by the fact that I wanted to put both the coral and the teal gingham dresses into my cart. The recent bill for the work I’d had done on my car’s brakes said really that wasn’t going to happen, so a choice had to be made between the two. BUT WHICH COLOUR? I wanted both. I’m more drawn to blues and teals as a rule, and I was a bit worried the coral might secretly be a true pink only pretending to be coral–pink and I do not get along. Buuuut if it really is truly coral, I reasoned, that’s an unrepresented colour in my wardrobe compared to my plentiful selection of blues. Oh but wait, they also do full circle skirts in the same ginghams though. Do I buy one skirt and one dress? Why is shopping so hard? Why aren’t I rich?
A few hours later, I was a big girl and bought only one dress, feeling slightly panicked as I did so because an Instagram follower warned me the coral dress was selling out in many sizes. But it was okay, I got her. I got the coral Sarah. And you guys. She’s just lovely.
It’s been a couple weeks already since The Pinup Picnic in the Park and finally I’ve found some time to do a little write up of our day.
It was weird to finally be going to an event we had been organising and talking about since February–right at the beginning of the year my friend Giselle, who wasn’t yet my friend, commented on one of @thebritishbelles pictures on Instagram asking if we were open to organising a British event as an alternative to Viva Las Vegas for all we British girls who wouldn’t be going and would be jealously stalking the hashtag on IG. Way back in December when I had first met up with most of the Belles I had mentioned how it would be nice to do a public event in future where other pinups could hang out, as we Belles were already having regular friend days together vintage shopping and eating diner food. With Giselle’s request we decided we definitely wanted to make something happen, but with VLV happening in April we couldn’t think up a free idea that wouldn’t take place outdoors and, thus, possibly be in with a chance of being ruined by the great English weather that early in the year.
It was for this reason we chose to host an event in June, deciding upon a quintessentially British picnic. Holding it in London’s Hyde park meant it would be free and easy for a lot of people to get to. As of the day before we had absolutely no idea how many people would be turning up, as 600+ had RSVPd yes on Facebook but we considered that unlikely.
I don’t do a lot of event or experience based posts on the blog because, quite frankly, my life is just not that interesting; I go to work Monday to Friday like your typical worker bee, I spend a lot of my free time with my family and friends, and then another chunk of time on this blog focusing on the fun not-so-usual style aspects of my life. But occasionally I have something cool I get to share with you, and this time it’s my recent experience modelling for Voodoo Vixen.
My fellow British Belle Amber and I were both asked to be part of a Spring/Summer campaign lookbook for VV in early June and we were thrilled to say yes. Taking a day off work, we travelled up to London for a vintage picnic themed shoot early on a Tuesday morning with our hair in pincurls and the usual London commuters staring. The shoot was in east London, east enough that the Londoners on the team considered it Essex while wee country bumpkin that I am still resolutely saw the London around us.
Shooting in public is always an interesting and amusing experience because people can have curious reactions to stumbling upon a photoshoot in action. On our very first set up, with Amber and I posing against a downed log near a pond, a group of small primary school children were ushered past us on a school trip…and were all lined up and sat down on a small hill immediately facing us, for no other apparent reason we could gather than to have a look at what we were doing.
Casual sassy log chilling in the ‘Alison’ dress for Amber and ‘Leona’ for me